Meir Ettinger, the grandson of murdered Israeli-American far-right activist Meir Kahane, was arrested on Monday in connection to extremist activity, the Shin Bet security agency said.
Ettinger was being questioned by Shin Bet agents for “his involvement in a Jewish extremist organization,” it said in a statement.
The right-wing activist had formerly been subject to a year-long court order preventing him from entering the West Bank and Jerusalem. He lives in the northern town of Safed.
The Shin Bet had linked Ettinger to the arson attack on the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes last month, Haaretz reported.
In January 2014, Ettinger, a prominent activist who has been instrumental in the establishment of illegal outposts in the West Bank in recent years, was held captive by Palestinian villagers for more than two hours, along with several other settlers who had been with him at the time of an alleged attempted “price tag” attack.
Ettinger’s arrest comes as the government cracks down on Jewish extremists. On Sunday, the cabinet authorized security officials to use administrative detention, wherein suspects are held without trial for renewable periods, and all other appropriate means to track down and hold suspects in Friday’s killing of a Palestinian infant.
At an emergency meeting Sunday evening, ministers approved the use of “all means necessary” to catch the killers, alleged to be Jewish terrorists, who firebombed the Dawabsha home in the early hours of Friday morning, burning it down, killing Ali Saad Dawabsha, and leaving his parents and brother in critical condition.
Ministers also agreed to expedite legislation designed to counter Jewish terrorism, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.
A ministerial committee including Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked was established to oversee other requirements to ensure more effective efforts to quell the extremism.
Security officials quoted on Israel’s Channel 2 News warned that a group of Jewish extremists, sometimes referred to as “hilltop youth,” were responsible for a series of hate crimes in recent years, and that these “rebels” and “anarchists” were bent on undermining the rule of law in Israel.
The officials said there had been a reduction in the number of hate attacks of late, but that the attacks themselves were becoming increasingly grave.